Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Preview: Wings VS Coyotes, Round 1 Game 4

"When you turn over pucks, you don't have good defensive structure and your goaltender doesn't look as good." - Coach Mike Babcock

Coyotes Lead Series 2-1

On a dreary day in Moncton, New Brunswick, I'm hoping for a little ray of sunshine to peek through the clouds when Detroit steps back onto JLA ice for Game 4 of the Western Conference quarters between the Red Wings and the Coyotes. The series itself has been pretty bleak, with Detroit mounting very little energy and inspiration through the course of the previous three games. It hasn't been fun to watch, as I'm sure you Wingnuts are well aware. A win tonight is critical, as Detroit doesn't dare fall behind 3-1 and risk elimination.

With this in mind, let's go to The Geek's Winning Formula!

1.) Team Defense - This has been the biggest killer for the Red Wings so far this series. The Coyotes have scored at least 3 goals in every game thus far. This is unacceptable and hardly what you can call playoff caliber. Detroit needs to tighten way up and start winning some possession battles, stop taking eyes off guys sneaking in and watch positioning. This has lead to a majority of the goals against the Wings: quality chances for Phoenix due to inattentiveness by the Detroit defense.

2.) Maintain Pressure - Again we find the Wings apparently lacking inspiration to stay motivated. We need 60 minutes of playoff hockey, game in and game out. We have not seen that so far. The Red Wing forecheck has been very ineffective, with many of Detroit's goals coming from long-bomb passes through the neutral zone or one of the few fancy passing plays that isn't intercepted. Detroit needs to get bodies to the net and bang and crash for loose pucks. Granted we had one of those in Game 3 and it was disallowed (I can't stand the intent to blow rule...), that's what we need more of. The crashing, not disallowing.

3.) Minimize Mistakes - This isn't something only the defensive side of the Red Wings is guilty of. Offensively, there have been too many chances ruined by a reluctance by some players to shoot, or the numerous unnecessary offsides, or the blind, sloppy passing leading to turnovers. This is not the elite puck possession team I know Detroit to be, and they need to find themselves again. Phoenix has shown time and time again this series that if we give them a chance, they will gladly take it, so the onus is on the Wings to stop giving them those chances.

I'm looking forward to watching a much different team of Red Wings tonight, because if I don't...well, the sense of urgency in Game 5 will be there whether we like it or not. On the upshot, as I finish writing, the sun is starting to peek out and the skies are clearing. An omen, hopefully?

Till tonight, Wingnuts!! Let's Go Red Wings!!!